Calcium assays

Calcium ions play a critical role in signal transduction pathways, in contraction of cardiomyocytes and smooth muscle cells, and in neurotransmitter release from neurons. Disturbances of calcium signaling can play a role in many diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson, and cardiac diseases like cardiomyopathy, making calcium assays an interesting tool in drug discovery. Several technologies to monitor intracellular calcium levels have been developed to assess cardiac and neuronal functioning in health and disease and drug responses. Intracellular calcium can be detected with either calcium-sensitive dyes or with a genetically encoded calcium indicator.


Calcium-sensitive dyes

Calcium-sensitive dyes are absorbed into the cell’s cytoplasm during incubation and exhibit changes in fluorescence upon calcium binding. Calcium sensitive dyes are a sensitive and rapid indicator of calcium changes.


Genetically encoded calcium indicator (GECI)

Genetically encoded calcium indicators, like GCaMP, are protein-based indicators introduced into the cells by transduction. The main advantage of using GECI is that they enable real time calcium measurements which is of interest studying long term toxic compound effects.

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Drug-induced changes in blood pressure are an unwanted but common effect of novel compounds. Calcium transient measurements on hiPSC-derived vascular smooth muscle cells enables detection of vasodilators and vasoconstrictors.

A concentration-dependent response to the vasoconstrictor angiotensin-II.


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